TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Monday, October 9, 2006

9/11 Rescuers & Line of Duty

Findlaw has a story about line-drawing and the unfortunate consequences in tough cases:

As the World Trade Center burned, Glenn Winuk rushed to the scene from his law office to offer his skills as a veteran paramedic. He died with surgical gloves on and a medic's bag at his side. A card in his wallet identified him as a volunteer firefighter.

"He died a hero," said his brother, Jay.

Yet, in the eyes of the federal government, he did not die in the line of duty.

Winuk had not been on active duty since 1998.

"I recognize the decedent's heroism that day and readily acknowledge and salute his bravery: Glenn J. Winuk gave unstintingly of himself, under the most dreadful circumstances, and gave unto death itself," wrote Domingo S. Herraiz, director of the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance.

"The law does not entrust me, however, with authority to distribute federal benefits in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Good Samaritans, no matter how deserving."

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